Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Candy Apples for Grown-Ups + a SCREAM POLL and Giveaway for Halloween via Cleo Coyle

The Winner of the Comment-to-Win Scream Poll
Prize Package is announced below.
Scroll down to learn more.

There’s nothing like a really good scream.

A scream is a cleansing experience. It allows you to purge your pent-up tension and hurl your voice into the cosmos. True, it's not a very adult thing to do, but it is fun. And why should kids have all the fun? I mean, have you noticed how often they get to scream?


Some of my best screams came from riding the old, wooden roller coasters at Kennywood, a beautiful, little amusement park in Western Pennsylvania, one that dates back over 100 years.

Several of its coasters are ranked among the top classic coasters in the country by the ACE, American Coaster EnthusiastsAnd my favorite of the bunch was even given landmark status.

Built in 1920, Kennywood's JACK RABBIT is one of the oldest still-running coasters in the world. Come with me now for a fantastically fun virtual ride...

Click the arrow in the window below to take
a short hop with me on the Jack Rabbit...

If you do not see a video window above, click here 
to watch on YouTube. Use your full screen for the best effect!

Did you scream? 

No? Then try a virtual ride on the Thunderbolt here, the Racer here, or even the steel Phantom (a more modern, nose-bleed-high coaster) here.  

True, these are only videos. But since this is Halloween Week, screaming is allowed. Of course, if coasters can't get you screaming, something else may. And that's what I'd like to know...


Take my SCREAMS poll below to tell me.

If you also leave a comment on this post,
letting me know at least 
one of your answers,
you are automatically 
entered to win my

Halloween "Treat" Prize Package 

(see more at the end of the post).


If you do not see
the poll above,
click here to take it.

And now today’s Halloween treat!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Cleo Coyle's
Candy Apples
for Grown-Ups

While typically a children’s treat, candy apples make a nice novelty dessert for an adult party.
In fact, my readers may remember the "baby billionaire" candy apples served on a dessert tray of an exclusive club in Billionaire Blend.

Granted, one can act only so sophisticated when consuming a carnival treat, of course, that just might be the fun of it. (Camera phones ready?) On the other hand, you can always de-stick the apple, slice it in half, and serve it to the smart set as "glacéed pommes."

As for today's recipe, I experimented with a combination of ingredients until I was happy with the end product, which is why there is no corn syrup in this recipe. Instead, I used honey, which lends a lovely flavor. I’m also sharing a fun (spiked) version that’s even more grown-up. It swaps out the cinnamon sticks for cinnamon schnapps. (More on that below.) 

Whether you eat your apples with spirits or without, I wish you a very Happy Halloween! ~ ~ Cleo


To download this recipe
in a PDF document 
you can print, save, or
share, click here.

To download this recipe
in a free PDF, click here.

Makes about 6 medium (to large) or 8 smallish apples

You will need: * Wax paper or parchment paper; * Non-stick cooking spray; 
* Non-stick medium size saucepan;  * Wooden spoon or silicone spatula (one for high-heat cooking); * Wooden skewers or Popsicle/Craft Sticks or Chopsticks; * (Optional) A candy thermometer; it's optional because I often make these without a thermometer; so if you don’t have one, just follow my tips for knowing when the candy is done cooking.


8 small or 6 medium (to large) apples (What type? See below...)**

2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon honey 

2 cinnamon sticks (or a few more, but do not use
   ground or powdered, it will cloud the mixture)

2-1/2 cups white, granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon + 4 or 5 extra drops red food coloring

**TIPS on picking apples: I like to use small apples for this recipe and in my photos today you see organic Fuji apples. Be sure to choose apples without any wax coating (farmer's market or organic apples are a good bet for this). If you do have wax coating on your apples, you'll need to drop them briefly in boiling water (and dry the surfaces well). Otherwise, the candy may not properly adhere. For more suggestions on what types of apples are best to use for this recipe, read my tips in the PDF version of this recipe. Download it by clicking here.


Step 1 - Prep the apples: Cover a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and generously coat the paper with nonstick spray or you can brush it with oil. This is a must to prevent the apples from sticking to the paper. Remove stems from the apples and insert skewers, Popsicle sticks, or chopsticks as shown. 

Step 2 - Make the candy coating: Combine sugar, water, honey, cinnamon sticks, and food coloring in a nonstick saucepan. (The red food coloring will darken as the candy cooks, so don't go too heavy on it. I suggest 1/4 teaspoon and 4 or 5 extra drops, not much more than that.)

Stir the mixture over medium-high heat only until the sugar is completely melted. Once it’s melted, you’re safe to boil it. DO NOT STIR AGAIN AT THIS POINT. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. After about 10 minutes of a continual, rolling boil, the candy should be ready or very close. 

Testing candy for doneness (no candy thermometer?): To check without a thermometer, dip a spoon into the mixture and drop some of the liquid candy into a glass of ice cold water. Does it harden up quickly into a crunchy, brittle substance? If it does, you’re ready to make candy apples. If not, keep cooking but check frequently to prevent burning. 

Testing candy for doneness (with a candy thermometer): If you're using a candy thermometer, look for a temperature from 280 to 300 degrees F. Don’t go much beyond that or you’ll risk burning the candy. 

Candy-Making Temperatures Grid: For a handy grid of of temperatures attached to each stage of candy making, see the PDF version of this recipe. To download the document, click here.

Step 3 - Coat the apples: BE CAREFUL with this step because the candy-coating is very hot and will hurt like the dickens if it splashes on you. Turn the heat off under the pan and allow the boiling to stop. Tip the pan slightly and dip a skewered apple in the coating. Twirl the apple for an even coat. Lift and allow the excess to drip back into the pan. Place your newly dipped candy apple on the greased wax or parchment paper.

COATING TIP: Do not double-dip or be concerned with applying a super-thick coating. Take it from me, if the candy is too thick, your teeth will not be able to penetrate it. Simply dip once for a thin candy-coating. As it cools, it will harden prettily (similar to the hardness of peanut brittle).

As the candy in the pot cools, it will thicken and become more difficult to work with so don't let the candy sit around. Be sure to dip all of your apples relatively quickly after the candy is finished cooking. If the liquid candy does begin to thicken up on your, then turn the heat on again under the pan and warm the mixture until it loosens up.

CLEAN-UP TIP: Do not pour any leftover liquid candy into your sink. Instead, pour it into a disposable container (like an empty milk carton or soup can) and toss it into the garbage. As for cleaning any encrusted candy on your pan or utensils, simply fill your saucepan with water, place the utensils inside, and boil the water on the stove to melt the crusted candy off the sides and bottom of the pot. 

Cinnamon Schnapps 

Spiked Candy Apples

To make an even more grown-up version, you can spike the candy apples with cinnamon schnapps. Here's how I do it. Follow the recipe exactly as you would above with these changes.

1 - Leave out the cinnamon sticks and make the candy coating without them.

2 - After the candy is finished cooking and you are ready to coat the apples, turn off the heat under the pan. WAIT for the boiling to stop. Measure out 2 tablespoons of cinnamon schnapps** and CAREFULLY pour the schnapps into the liquid candy. The hot candy will JUMP and sizzle as you add the alcohol so please watch for that and do not get burned! The reason you are adding it at this late stage is to preserve the alcohol and flavor of the liqueur. Lightly stir the mixture with a wooden skewer and immediately begin dipping your apples. If the liquid candy cools and begins to thicken on you, turn on the heat and warm it until it loosens again, and...
Follow the rest of the recipe as written.

**Cinnamon schnapps is a fun liqueur to play with, especially in the fall and winter. Add a generous splash of it to a glass of cold apple cider, for instance, and you've got a drinkable "Apple Pie"--delicious! For more drink ideas using cinnamon schnapps, click here or here. (We use Goldschläger.)

Visit our EAT, DRINK, AND BE SCARY page to see past recipes we've posted here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and check back because we'll have more recipes all week long!

Cleo's Halloween "Treat"
Prize Package

* A personally inscribed copy of Billionaire Blend

* A signed set of Cleo's glossy Coffeehouse recipe cards

* A package of Billionaire's Blend coffee, an amazingly delicious
premium coffee created by the One Good Woman company
to celebrate Cleo's Coffeehouse Mystery...

* This custom-designed Coffeehouse Mystery
coffee mug with one of Madame's favorite sayings...

To enter the random drawing, simply take 
Cleo's fun Scream poll (above or here) and
leave a comment on THIS POST, telling me
at least one of your answers in the poll

This contest is now over.
The winner is

Valerie of
Omaha, Nebraska!

Congrats, Valerie,
and thanks to everyone who
left such fun, fantastic comments!

Marc and I had a scream
looking at what makes you scream!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.


Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

..is a culinary murder mystery that features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!

See the Billionaire Blend
Recipe Guide 
by clicking here.


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E-newsletter (recipes, contests, fun info).
Every week, a subscriber is chosen to win a
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Good luck!


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  1. Ah, roller coasters! I grew up with Willow Grove Park in eastern Pennsylvania (alas, long since become a shopping mall), where they had a Wild Mouse--small, but quick, with very sharp turns. Fast forward: my husband and I visited Sydney, Australia a few years back, and as you may know, there's a famous amusement part on the far side of the harbor (the gate is a huge clown face, and you enter through the mouth). As soon as we arrived there, by ferry, I looked ahead and said, "That's a Wild Mouse." It was.

    Candy apples always scared me because I have been know to break teeth or remove fillings while eating fried eggs. Promise these are soft enough?

    1. Sheila - If you can eat peanut brittle, or French praline, you can eat these candy apples--as long as you follow the directions and do a thin, single coating with the very hot liquid candy. It's when folks do a double-coating (attempting to put that candy on especially thick) that makes it inedible and I'm with you on that one!

      The Wild Mouse rides are wonderful, aren't they? Kennywood didn't have one, but another park in the region did. Fun memories! Thanks for dropping in today, and because you're the apple maven of our blog, I think I must wish you an...

      App(L)y Halloween!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. I love candy apples and I took the poll. And yes, between credit card bills and the IRS I live in a constant state of fear!

    1. Scream therapy may be just the thing for you. Play that roller coaster video a few more times...or better yet try a few shots of that Goldshlager cinnamon schnapps (hold the apple)!

      I hope that helps and have a very Happy (IRS free) Halloween!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    2. Of the three screamers I chose from the Coffeehouse Newsletter, my biggest is my closets. How in the world a closet winds up looking like my junk drawer so quickly, I will never know. My most huge screamer, however, was not on your list...its when the "macho" comes out in my husband...aaaaaaaaghh! " I don't need to go to the doctor, I'm tough!" "I'm not getting a flu shot, I'm tough!" I always get my way, though, so all ends well.

  3. I think I would like those candy apples for sure! Can't pass them out to the trick-or-treaters ;-). Everything on the list makes me go "oh no, oh no, oh no" but the snakes - then I scream!

  4. Your recipes and delectable offerings are very appealing. The list is great. Snakes for sure. Always are and were. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. I took the poll---and spiders are probably my worst hang up---or maybe anything to to with heights so roller coasters are a definite scream, too. I like the candy apply schnapps recipe.

  6. the poll was very extensive, and my worst fear is heights and of course that means roller coasters. What a wonderful and creative post today. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. This was such a terrific post, Cleo! I scared myself with your POLL, but the apples should revive me.

    Thanks for such a 'spirited' effort.



  8. Spiders!!!! When I was young (years ago), my grandfather owned a candy factory and for Halloween, he brought in candy apples for my grade school class. I was not a fan of the apples, but he also made hard cinnamon candy and peanut brittle that was the best. He only had the factory for a year and but I can almost taste it today, fifty years later.

  9. You have a wonderful way of combining food and humor!

    I did a write in on the poll--Politicians. Enough said, don't you think?

    And clever you for working this out without corn syrup!

  10. Bugs, insects and reptiles do not scare me, so no screaming there. But I had a boss that could drive me to drinking but I would go outside and scream to relieve the stress.

    Could use a good cuppa coffee.


    Betty Jo

  11. What a fun post. I made candy Apples on Halloween for the family a few years ago. I did not use honey. I will have to try that. Cool you posted Edvard Munch's The Skirk! My students & I just recently painted that. Did you know Edvard painted it on cardboard with tempera paint & chalk? The painting has been stolen twice & sold for $120 million.

  12. Bugs, insects and spiders. Nearly spit out my coffee one morning when I read that there exists a type of puppy sized spider. They showed a photo and it looked to me like a tarantula on steroids.

  13. Yum! I'll definitely make these. I am frightened, now that I'm a bit older, by scary movies. They used to be so much fun! Still are, but I have to steer clear of ones that are too realistic. My favorite rollercoaster is the old wooden one on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. I love the sound the wooden ones make.

  14. That's the only way I plan to do roller coasters from now on. Phantom's Revenge was cool but I would never really ride on it.
    I took the poll.
    The cinnamon schnapps makes me wish I could still drink...allergic to alcohol so, it's a no for me. Maybe you could make some lollipops, too. Interesting.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  15. Creepy crawlers make me scream--basically for someone to make them disappear. Though, this last six weeks I had to be very interested in insects because my granddaughter was studying them in her second grade class, and I don't want her to take after her grandmother on this one. We were very careful to have all three of our kids"enjoy" those freakiest from the outdoors. One year, when my daughter was about 8, she got a Prongles Chips can, filled it with dirt, and put her family of worms in the can. I found it about a week later when I was cleaning her room. Both the dirt and the worms were all dried up. Ah well, she is not bothered by those things now��

  16. Spiders!! Little ones are not too bad but the big scary hunting spiders freak me out. The worst feeling is being in the shower and having a big spider in there with you! Makes me want to run screaming into another room to hide.